Science is the study of our world, as it is in its messy reality. Nonetheless, science requires idealization to function—if we are to attempt to understand the world, we have to find ways to reduce its complexity. Idealization and the Aims of Science shows just how crucial idealization is to science and why it matters. Beginning with the acknowledgment of our status as limited human agents trying to make sense of an exceedingly complex world, Angela Potochnik moves on to (...) explain how science aims to depict and make use of causal patterns—a project that makes essential use of idealization. She offers case studies from a number of branches of science to demonstrate the ubiquity of idealization, shows how causal patterns are used to develop scientific explanations, and describes how the necessarily imperfect connection between science and truth leads to researchers’ values influencing their findings. The resulting book is a tour de force, a synthesis of the study of idealization that also offers countless new insights and avenues for future exploration. (shrink)
Some mental states seem to be "of" or "about" things, or to "say" something. For example, a thought might represent that grass is green, and a visual experience might represent a blue cup. This is intentionality. The aim of this book is to explain this phenomenon. -/- Once we understand intentionality as a phenomenon to be explained, rather than a posit in a theory explaining something else, we can see that there are glaring empirical and in principle difficulties with currently (...) popular tracking and functional role theories of intentionality, which aim to account for intentionality in terms of tracking relations and functional roles. -/- This book develops an alternative theory, the phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT), on which the source of intentionality is none other than phenomenal consciousness, the subjective, felt, or qualitative aspect of mental life. While PIT avoids the problems that plague tracking and functional role theories, it faces its own challenges in accounting for the rich and complex contents of thoughts and the contents of nonconscious states. In responding to these challenges, this book proposes a novel version of PIT, on which all intentionality is phenomenal intentionality, though we in some sense represent many non-phenomenal contents by ascribing them to ourselves. This book further argues that phenomenal consciousness is an intrinsic feature of mental life, resulting in a view that is radically internalistic in spirit: Our phenomenally represented contents are literally in our heads, and any non-phenomenal contents we in some sense represent are expressly targeted by us. (shrink)
Recently, a number of philosophers have begun to question the commonly held view that choice or voluntary control is a precondition of moral responsibility. According to these philosophers, what really matters in determining a person’s responsibility for some thing is whether that thing can be seen as indicative or expressive of her judgments, values, or normative commitments. Such accounts might therefore be understood as updated versions of what Susan Wolf has called “real self views,” insofar as they attempt to ground (...) an agent’s responsibility for her actions and attitudes in the fact (when it is a fact) that they express who she is as a moral agent. As such, they seem to be open to some of the same objections Wolf originally raised to such accounts, and in particular to the objection that they cannot license the sorts of robust moral assessments involved in our current practices of moral responsibility. My aim in this paper is to try to respond to this challenge, by clarifying the kind of robust moral assessments I take to be licensed by (at least some) non-volitional accounts of responsibility and by explaining why these assessments do not in general require the agent to have voluntary control over everything for which she is held responsible. I also argue that the limited applicability of the distinction between “bad agents” and “blameworthy agents” on these accounts is in fact a mark in their favor. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have recently argued that we should interpret the debate over moral responsibility as a debate over the conditions under which it would be “fair” to blame a person for her attitudes or conduct. What is distinctive about these accounts is that they begin with the stance of the moral judge, rather than that of the agent who is judged, and make attributions of responsibility dependent upon whether it would be fair or appropriate for a moral judge (...) to react to the agent in various (negative) ways. This is problematic, I argue, because our intuitions about whether and when it would be fair to react negatively to another are sensitive to a host of considerations that appear to have little or nothing to do with an agent’s responsibility or culpability for her attitudes or behavior. If this is correct, then theories which make attributions of responsibility dependent upon the appropriateness of our reactions as moral judges will turn out to be fundamentally misguided. (shrink)
Philosophers traditionally recognize two main features of mental states: intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. To a first approximation, intentionality is the aboutness of mental states, and phenomenal consciousness is the felt, experiential, qualitative, or "what it's like" aspect of mental states. In the past few decades, these features have been widely assumed to be distinct and independent. But several philosophers have recently challenged this assumption, arguing that intentionality and consciousness are importantly related. This article overviews the key views on the relationship (...) between consciousness and intentionality and describes our favored view, which is a version of the phenomenal intentionality theory, roughly the view that the most fundamental kind of intentionality arises from phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher‐level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher‐level explanations are more general than their lower‐level alternatives or that higher‐level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different (...) levels are preferable in different circumstances because they offer different types of generality, which are appropriate in different circumstances of explanation. *Received July 2009; revised September 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Oklahoma State University, 246 Murray Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIt has recently become fashionable among those who write on questions of moral responsibility to distinguish two different concepts, or senses, of moral responsibility via the labels ‘responsibility as attributability’ and ‘responsibility as accountability’. Gary Watson was perhaps the first to introduce this distinction in his influential 1996 article ‘Two Faces of Responsibility’ , but it has since been taken up by many other philosophers. My aim in this study is to raise some questions and doubts about this distinction and (...) to argue that it has led to confusion rather than clarification in debates over moral responsibility. In place of the attributability/accountability distinction, I propose that there is a single concept of moral responsibility underlying our actual moral practices. This core notion of moral responsibility, which I call ‘responsibility as answerability’, is well positioned to explain thos.. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
Moods and emotions are sometimes thought to be counterexamples to intentionalism, the view that a mental state's phenomenal features are exhausted by its representational features. The problem is that moods and emotions are accompanied by phenomenal experiences that do not seem to be adequately accounted for by any of their plausibly represented contents. This paper develops and defends an intentionalist view of the phenomenal character of moods and emotions on which emotions and some moods represent intentional objects as having sui (...) generis affective properties, which happen to be uninstantiated, and at least some moods represent affective properties not bound to any objects. (shrink)
Reliable misrepresentation is getting things wrong in the same way all the time. In Mendelovici 2013, I argue that tracking theories of mental representation cannot allow for certain kinds of reliable misrepresentation, and that this is a problem for those views. Artiga 2013 defends teleosemantics from this argument. He agrees with Mendelovici 2013 that teleosemantics cannot account for clean cases of reliable misrepresentation, but argues that this is not a problem for the views. This paper clarifies and improves the argument (...) in Mendelovici 2013 and response to Artiga's arguments. Tracking theories, teleosemantics included, really do need to allow for clean cases of reliable misrepresentation. (shrink)
The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case (...) study, on the basis of which I suggest that there is a widely felt tension in science between explanatory independence and broad epistemic inter dependence, and that this tension influences scientific methodology. (shrink)
There is increasing attention to the centrality of idealization in science. One common view is that models and other idealized representations are important to science, but that they fall short in one or more ways. On this view, there must be an intermediary step between idealized representation and the traditional aims of science, including truth, explanation, and prediction. Here I develop an alternative interpretation of the relationship between idealized representation and the aims of science. In my view, continuing, widespread idealization (...) calls into question the idea that science aims for truth. I argue that understanding must replace truth as the ultimate epistemic aim of science. Additionally, science has a wide variety aims, epistemic and non-epistemic, and these aims motivate different kinds of scientific products. Finally, I show how these diverse aims---all rather distant from truth---result in the expanded influence of social values on science. (shrink)
This dissertation argues that mental representation is identical to phenomenal consciousness, and everything else that appears to be both mental and a matter of representation is not genuine mental representation, but either in some way derived from mental representation, or a case of non-mental representation.
This paper compares tracking and phenomenal intentionality theories of intentionality with respect to the issue of naturalism. Tracking theories explicitly aim to naturalize intentionality, while phenomenal intentionality theories generally do not. It might seem that considerations of naturalism count in favor of tracking theories. We survey key considerations relevant to this claim, including some motivations for and objections to the two kinds of theories. We conclude by suggesting that naturalistic considerations may in fact support phenomenal intentionality theories over tracking theories.
There is an apparent tension in our everyday moral responsibility practices. On the one hand, it is commonly assumed that moral responsibility requires voluntary control: an agent can be morally responsible only for those things that fall within the scope of her voluntary control. On the other hand, we regularly praise and blame individuals for mental states and conditions that appear to fall outside the scope of their voluntary control, such as desires, emotions, beliefs, and other attitudes. In order to (...) resolve this apparent tension, many philosophers appeal to a tracing principle to argue that agents are morally responsible for those attitudes whose existence can be traced back, causally, to a voluntary action or omission in the past. My aim in this article is to critically evaluate this tracing strategy and to argue that it gives us a misguided picture of when and why we are morally responsible for our attitudes. I argue that we should accept a ‘judgment sensitivity’ condition of moral responsibility rather than a ‘voluntary control’ condition, and defend this account against various objections. (shrink)
The concept of hierarchical organization is commonplace in science. Subatomic particles compose atoms, which compose molecules; cells compose tissues, which compose organs, which compose organisms; etc. Hierarchical organization is particularly prominent in ecology, a field of research explicitly arranged around levels of ecological organization. The concept of levels of organization is also central to a variety of debates in philosophy of science. Yet many difficulties plague the concept of discrete hierarchical levels. In this paper, we show how these difficulties undermine (...) various implications ascribed to hierarchical organization, and we suggest the concept of scale as a promising alternative to levels. Investigating causal processes at different scales offers a way to retain a notion of quasi-levels that avoids the difficulties inherent in the classic concept of hierarchical levels of organization. Throughout, our focus is on ecology, but the results generalize to other invocations of hierarchy in science and philosophy of science. (shrink)
According to intentionalism, phenomenal properties are identical to, supervenient on, or determined by representational properties. Intentionalism faces a special challenge when it comes to accounting for the phenomenal character of moods. First, it seems that no intentionalist treatment of moods can capture their apparently undirected phenomenology. Second, it seems that even if we can come up with a viable intentionalist account of moods, we would not be able to motivate it in some of the same kinds of ways that intentionalism (...) about other kinds of states can be motivated. In this article, I respond to both challenges: First, I propose a novel intentionalist treatment of moods on which they represent unbound affective properties. Then, I argue that this view is indirectly supported by the same kinds of considerations that directly support intentionalism about other mental states. (shrink)
Using data collected at two phases, this study examines why and how ethical leadership behavior influences employees’ evaluations of organization-focused justice, i.e., procedural justice and distributive justice. By proposing ethical leaders as moral agents of the organization, we build up the linkage between ethical leadership behavior and the above two types of organization-focused justice. We further suggest trust in organization as a key mediating mechanism in the linkage. Our findings indicate that ethical leadership behavior engenders employees’ trust in their employing (...) organization, which in turn promotes their justice perceptions toward the organization. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed, and some directions for future research are suggested. (shrink)
The predominant view is that a study using health data is observational research and should require individual consent unless it can be shown that gaining consent is impractical. But recent arguments have been made that citizens have an ethical obligation to share their health information for research purposes. In our view, this obligation is sufficient ground to expand the circumstances where secondary use research with identifiable health information is permitted without explicit subject consent. As such, for some studies the Institutional (...) Review Board/Research Ethics Committee review process should not assess the practicality of gaining consent for data use. Instead the review process should focus on assessing the public good of the research, public engagement and transparency. (shrink)
Causal accounts of scientific explanation are currently broadly accepted (though not universally so). My first task in this paper is to show that, even for a causal approach to explanation, significant features of explanatory practice are not determined by settling how causal facts bear on the phenomenon to be explained. I then develop a broadly causal approach to explanation that accounts for the additional features that I argue an explanation should have. This approach to explanation makes sense of several aspects (...) of actual explanatory practice, including the widespread use of equilibrium explanations, the formulation of distinct explanations for a single event, and the tight relationship between explanations of events and explanations of causal regularities. (shrink)
Making data broadly accessible is essential to creating a medical information commons. Transparency about data-sharing practices can cultivate trust among prospective and existing MIC participants. We present an analysis of 34 initiatives sharing DNA-derived data based on public information. We describe data-sharing practices captured, including practices related to consent, privacy and security, data access, oversight, and participant engagement. Our results reveal that data-sharing initiatives have some distance to go in achieving transparency.
In recent years, philosophy of science has witnessed a significant increase in attention directed toward the field’s social relevance. This is demonstrated by the formation of societies with related agendas, the organization of research symposia, and an uptick in work on topics of immediate public interest. The collection of papers that follows results from one such event: a 3-day colloquium on the subject of socially engaged philosophy of science held at the University of Cincinnati in October 2012. In this introduction, (...) we first survey the recent history of philosophy of science’s social involvement and contrast this with the much greater social involvement of the sciences themselves. Next, we argue that the field of philosophy of science bears a special responsibility to contribute to public welfare. We then introduce as a term of art “SEPOS” and articulate what we take to be distinctive about social engagement, with reference to the articles in this collection as exemplars. Finally, we survey the current state of social engagement in philosophy of science and suggest some practical steps for individuals and institutions to support this trajectory. (shrink)
The tremendous philosophical focus on how to characterize explanatory metaphysical dependence has eclipsed a number of other unresolved issued about scientific explanation. The purpose of this paper is taxonomical. I will outline a number of other questions about the nature of explanation and its role in science—eight, to be precise—and argue that each is independent. All of these topics have received some philosophical attention, but none nearly so much as it deserves. Furthermore, existing views on these topics have been obscured (...) by not distinguishing among these independent questions and, especially, by not separating them from the question of what metaphysical dependence relation is explanatory. Philosophical analysis of scientific explanation would be much improved by attending more carefully to these, and probably still other, elements of an account of explanation. (shrink)
Advances in technologies and biomedical informatics have expanded capacity to generate and share biomedical data. With a lens on genomic data, we present a typology characterizing the data-sharing landscape in biomedical research to advance understanding of the key stakeholders and existing data-sharing practices. The typology highlights the diversity of data-sharing efforts and facilitators and reveals how novel data-sharing efforts are challenging existing norms regarding the role of individuals whom the data describe.
The optimality approach to modeling natural selection has been criticized by many biologists and philosophers of biology. For instance, Lewontin (1979) argues that the optimality approach is a shortcut that will be replaced by models incorporating genetic information, if and when such models become available. In contrast, I think that optimality models have a permanent role in evolutionary study. I base my argument for this claim on what I think it takes to best explain an event. In certain contexts, optimality (...) and game-theoretic models best explain some central types of evolutionary phenomena. ‡Thanks to Michael Friedman, Helen Longino, Michael Weisberg, and especially Elliott Sober for comments on earlier drafts of this paper. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2155; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
International research, sponsored by for-profit companies, is regularly criticised as unethical on the grounds that it exploits research subjects in developing countries. Many commentators agree that exploitation occurs when the benefits of cooperative activity are unfairly distributed between the parties. To determine whether international research is exploitative we therefore need an account of fair distribution. Procedural accounts of fair bargaining have been popular solutions to this problem, but I argue that they are insufficient to protect against exploitation. I argue instead (...) that a maximin principle of fair distribution provides a more compelling normative account of fairness in relationships characterised by extreme vulnerability and inequality of bargaining potential between the parties. A global tax on international research would provide a mechanism for implementing the maximin account of fair benefits. This model has the capacity to ensure fair benefits and thereby prevent exploitation in international research. (shrink)
The fate of optimality modeling is typically linked to that of adaptationism: the two are thought to stand or fall together (Gould and Lewontin, Proc Relig Soc Lond 205:581–598, 1979; Orzack and Sober, Am Nat 143(3):361–380, 1994). I argue here that this is mistaken. The debate over adaptationism has tended to focus on one particular use of optimality models, which I refer to here as their strong use. The strong use of an optimality model involves the claim that selection is (...) the only important influence on the evolutionary outcome in question and is thus linked to adaptationism. However, biologists seldom intend this strong use of optimality models. One common alternative that I term the weak use simply involves the claim that an optimality model accurately represents the role of selection in bringing about the outcome. This and other weaker uses of optimality models insulate the optimality approach from criticisms of adaptationism, and they account for the prominence of optimality modeling (broadly construed) in population biology. The centrality of these uses of optimality models ensures a continuing role for the optimality approach, regardless of the fate of adaptationism. (shrink)
The future of health research will be characterised by three continuing trends: rising demand for health data; increasing impracticability of obtaining specific consent for secondary research; and decreasing capacity to effectively anonymise data. In this context, governments, clinicians and the research community must demonstrate that they can be responsible stewards of health data. IRBs and RECs sit at heart of this process because in many jurisdictions they have the capacity to grant consent waivers when research is judged to be of (...) particular value. However, several different terms are used to refer to this value, indicating a lack of conceptual clarity regarding the appropriate test for access to health data for research without consent. In this paper we do three things. First we describe the current confusion and instability in terminology relating to public interest in the context of consent waivers. Second we argue for harmonisation of terminology on the grounds of clarity, transparency and consistency. Third we argue that the term ‘public interest’ best reflects the normative work required to justify consent waivers because it is the broadest of the competing terms. ‘Public interest’ contains within its scope positive and negative implications of a study, as well as welfare, justice and rights considerations. In making this argument, we explain the normative basis for consent waivers, and provide a starting place for further discussion about the precise conditions in which a given study can be said to advance the public interest. Ipsos MORI study found that: … the public would be broadly happy with administrative data linking for research projects provided Those projects have social value, broadly defined. Data are de-identified. Data are kept secure. Businesses are not able to access the data for profit. (shrink)
It is a common thought that mathematics can be not only true but also beautiful, and many of the greatest mathematicians have attached central importance to the aesthetic merit of their theorems, proofs and theories. But how, exactly, should we conceive of the character of beauty in mathematics? In this paper I suggest that Kant's philosophy provides the resources for a compelling answer to this question. Focusing on §62 of the ‘Critique of Aesthetic Judgment’, I argue against the common view (...) that Kant's aesthetics leaves no room for beauty in mathematics. More specifically, I show that on the Kantian account beauty in mathematics is a non-conceptual response felt in light of our own creative activities involved in the process of mathematical reasoning. The Kantian proposal I thus develop provides a promising alternative to Platonist accounts of beauty widespread among mathematicians. While on the Platonist conception the experience of mathematical beauty consists in an intellectual insight into the fundamental structures of the universe, according to the Kantian proposal the experience of beauty in mathematics is grounded in our felt awareness of the imaginative processes that lead to mathematical knowledge. The Kantian account I develop thus offers to elucidate the connection between aesthetic reflection, creative imagination and mathematical cognition. (shrink)
Public-private partnerships are established to specifically harness the potential of Big Data in healthcare and can include partners working across the data chain—producing health data, analysing data, using research results or creating value from data. This domain paper will illustrate the challenges that arise when partners from the public and private sector collaborate to share, analyse and use biomedical Big Data. We discuss three specific challenges for PPPs: working within the social licence, public antipathy to the commercialisation of public sector (...) health data, and questions of ownership, both of the data and any resulting intellectual property or products. As a specific example we consider the case of the UK National Health Service providing patient data to Google’s DeepMind AI program to develop a diagnostic app for kidney disease. This article is an application of the framework presented in this issue of ABR. Please refer to that article for more information on how this framework is to be used, including a full explanation of the key values involved and the balancing approach used in the case study at the end. We use four specific values to help analysis these issues: public benefit, stewardship, transparency and engagement. We demonstrate how the Deliberative Framework can support ethical governance of PPPs involving biomedical big data. (shrink)
Debate about cognitive science explanations has been formulated in terms of identifying the proper level(s) of explanation. Views range from reductionist, favoring only neuroscience explanations, to mechanist, favoring the integration of multiple levels, to pluralist, favoring the preservation of even the most general, high-level explanations, such as those provided by embodied or dynamical approaches. In this paper, we challenge this framing. We suggest that these are not different levels of explanation at all but, rather, different styles of explanation that capture (...) different, cross-cutting patterns in cognitive phenomena. Which pattern is explanatory depends on both the cognitive phenomenon under investigation and the research interests occasioning the explanation. This reframing changes how we should answer the basic questions of which cognitive science approaches explain and how these explanations relate to one another. On this view, we should expect different approaches to offer independent explanations in terms of their different focal patterns and the value of those explanations to partly derive from the broad patterns they feature. (shrink)
This chapter argues that olfactory experiences represent either everyday objects or ad hoc olfactory objects as having primitive olfactory properties, which happen to be uninstantiated. On this picture, olfactory experiences reliably misrepresent: they falsely represent everyday objects or ad hoc objects as having properties they do not have, and they misrepresent in the same way on multiple occasions. One might worry that this view is incompatible with the plausible claim that olfactory experiences at least sometimes justify true beliefs about the (...) world. This chapter argues that there is no such incompatibility. Since olfactory experiences reliably misrepresent, they can lead to true and justified beliefs about putatively smelly objects. (shrink)
This essay introduces a special collection of papers by Angela Creager, Soraya de Chadarevian, Karen Rader, Jean-Paul Gaudillière, and María Jesús Santesmases on the theme "Radiobiology in the Atomic Age.".
Despite the recent proliferation of scientific, clinical, and narrative accounts of auditory verbal hallucinations, the phenomenology of voice hearing remains opaque and undertheorized. In this article, we outline an interdisciplinary approach to understanding hallucinatory experiences which seeks to demonstrate the value of the humanities and social sciences to advancing knowledge in clinical research and practice. We argue that an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenology of AVH utilizes rigorous and context-appropriate methodologies to analyze a wider range of first-person accounts of AVH (...) at 3 contextual levels: cultural, social, and historical; experiential; and biographical. We go on to show that there are significant potential benefits for voice hearers, clinicians, and researchers. These include informing the development and refinement of subtypes of hallucinations within and across diagnostic categories; “front-loading” research in cognitive neuroscience; and suggesting new possibilities for therapeutic intervention. In conclusion, we argue that an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenology of AVH can nourish the ethical core of scientific enquiry by challenging its interpretive paradigms, and offer voice hearers richer, potentially more empowering ways to make sense of their experiences. (shrink)
The most pressing worry for panpsychism is arguably the combination problem, the problem of intelligibly explaining how the experiences of microphysical entities combine to form the experiences of macrophysical entities such as ourselves. This chapter argues that the combination problem is similar in kind to other problems of mental combination that are problems for everyone: the problem of phenomenal unity, the problem of mental structure, and the problem of new quality spaces. The ubiquity of combination problems suggests the ignorance hypothesis, (...) the hypothesis that we are ignorant of certain key facts about mental combination, which allows the panpsychist to avoid certain objections based on the combination problem. (shrink)
This paper explores one facet of Paul Russell’s unique “critical compatibilist” position on moral responsibility, which concerns his rejection of R. Jay Wallace’s “narrow construal” of moral responsibility as a concept tied exclusively to the Strawsonian reactive attitudes of resentment, indignation, and guilt. After explaining Russell’s critique of Wallace’s view, the paper considers a Wallace-inspired challenge based on the idea that questions of moral responsibility raise distinct issues of “fairness” that apply only to a narrow subset of the Strawsonian reactive (...) attitudes. The paper offers a defense of Russell’s view against this challenge. (shrink)
Scientific explanations must bear the proper relationship to the world: they must depict what, out in the world, is responsible for the explanandum. But explanations must also bear the proper relationship to their audience: they must be able to create human understanding. With few exceptions, philosophical accounts of explanation either ignore entirely the relationship between explanations and their audience or else demote this consideration to an ancillary role. In contrast, I argue that considering an explanation’s communicative role is crucial to (...) any satisfactory account of explanation. (shrink)